Published Date: Dec 25, 2014
Fifth meeting of APTTCA: Afghanistan, Tajikistan expect to finalise trilateral transit trade pact
Afghanistan and Tajikistan are expected to finalise trilateral transit trade agreement at the 5th meeting of Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Co-ordination Authority (APTTCA) scheduled to be held on 2-3 January 2015. Pakistani, Afghani and Tajik officials from trade, customs and foreign affairs will participate in the meeting.
On Wednesday, Commerce Minister, Engineer Khurram Dastgir finalised a strategy to resolve trade related issues with Afghanistan at a high level meeting held in the committee room of the Commerce Ministry. “Pakistan will convey its interest in development of Torkham border post connecting Quetta to Qandhar and Chaman post connecting Peshawar to Jalalabad and Kabul. For this purpose, Land Port Authority will be constituted which will upgrade Pakistan ‘s existing border posts on modern lines,” said an official.
Both countries have failed to resolve issues related to smuggling from and to Afghanistan which is hurting Pakistani industry. The Commerce Minister led team discussed proposals to resolve the issues of customs clearance, insurance of trucks and containers, tracking system of trucks, currency swap, role of SRO ‘s, lack of extensive credit facility from banks to traders and tax refunds.
Afghanistan provides incentives to attract FDI through duty-free access to developed world (being an LDC), business friendly investment policies, building infrastructure to facilitate industry and open access to local market that is largely untapped. Online system WeBoC is not synchronised with Afghan system which creates delays for the traders. Afghanistan is also looking for other options of transit trade since there remained obstacles in transit trade through Pakistan in the past.
According to an official statement, Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan is working on the prospects of export-led investment flows from Pakistan to Afghanistan and the volume of bilateral trade will be doubled in the next two years. The meeting was attended by Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Dr Ishrat Hussain, former Governor State Bank of Pakistan, senior officers from Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and researchers from Institute of Business Administration and Sustainable Policy Development Institute.
During the meeting, the Minister said that Pakistan is very interested in developing the nascent manufacturing sector of Afghanistan through export -led investment which will be expanded to Tajikistan and then to the rest of Central Asia. Pakistan is looking towards the West for enhancing trade opportunities and Afghanistan is looking towards East for a consistent trading partner, therefore, the priorities of the two Governments have converged and both Governments have showed firm resolve to remove hurdles in the way of trade and investment, the Minister said.
Pakistan is the largest trading partner of Afghanistan providing 21% of Afghanistan ‘s imports and buying 30.7% of Afghanistan ‘s exports. Major exports from Pakistan include cement, salt, construction material, products of milling industry, cereals, sugar, confectionary and animals while imports include cotton, coal, vegetables, raw skins, carpets and textile floor coverings. Since 2009, Afghanistan ‘s GDP increased by 9 percent exhibiting rapid economic growth and it has the potential to grow at a consistent growth rate of 6-7% till 2025. The Government is quantifying the magnitude of opportunities and removing the infrastructural and procedural hurdles in the way of trade and investment in Afghanistan.
Source : http://www.brecorder.com/business-and-economy/189:pakistan/1255983:fifth-meeting-of-apttca-afghanistan-tajikistan-expect-to-finalise-trilateral-transit-trade-pact/?date=2014-12-25